One Giant Leap

Some may have read the article I had written in “wiser words” about a snapshot of disability. Essentially I outlined what the social model of disability meant to me and looked at some pointers for moving forward. My view is that society needed, needs and is changing for the better, but responsibility is in the individual too to embrace the increasingly better opportunities and aim to progress. I also believe non disabled people need to see the common value of improving life for disabled people allowing bigger and quicker change politically, economically and socially.

I posted these sentiments into BBC ouch! And received an interesting response through 50 comments!! To be fair I did learn things about myself and disability from very intelligent comments such as how I cant speak for all disabled people (people in pain or with mental health problems) nor can I tell people they should do more. This was never my intention but I learnt to clarify my position better as well.

So having started airing my views and also having them challenged has left me here. I still very much have the same stance on disability from my perspective and those with similar impairments. I also feel the disability community need to think less disabled top trumps (I’m worse than you) and work together more, while engaging the general public not by blaming but by enabling them to empathise.

For me disability campaigning is about the small things but by many people. Overall to be achieved within the social model framework, removing barriers. To see Obama become president of the US, he wasn’t the first black person to achieve something but it did this – Now no black person is shut out from dreaming and aiming for anything! Before, despite Colin Powell, Condoliza Rice and so on (as political examples. I could do sports, music, business etc) achieving greatness for any person, that highest rank remained illusive. Obama not only gave hope for change, he opened up black peoples ambition to apply for anything anywhere. I have heard the disability movement is one of the last emancipatory struggles and is seen as being 20 years behind the black movement. I don’t believe everyone and anyone should aim to be Prime Minister or President, but it feels like disabled people get so far before that illusive door to power. For one person to find this door and go through it would change a whole generations mindset.

Some are naturally ambitious and some are nurtured for ambition. Others are naturally contented and others are nurtured to be contented. My point is let people be people, but we need a way of one disabled person, just one, being so much more – to flush out the nurture part of not believing and just settling for less. One giant leap for one disabled man/woman, would be one giant leap for disabled mankind too!